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Child abuse in India: Are existing solutions any good?

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By Swati Gilotra

New Delhi: According to “2007 Study on child abuse: A report by Ministry of Women and Child Development (Govt. of India)”, 53.22% children in India faced one or more forms of sexual abuse and two out of every three children is being physically abused. The report indicates that 50.2% children worked seven days a week. Adding salt to the festering wound is that out of 69% children physically abused in 13 sample states, 54.68% were boys. While equal percentage of both girls and boys reported emotional abuse, 48.4% of girls wished they were boys.

We need to think on the issue that if these girls had been boys, would their problem not exist at all? Considering the almost equal percentage of children being abused, would it be easier for girls if they were boys or vice-versa? Or, is this problem penetrating deep into the psyche of the child where she cannot think about another or, may be, a better alternative?

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Photo credit: dnaindia.com

The survey includes the definition of child abuse by World Health Organization (WHO). It revealed that although the term may be understood differently through diverse perceptions but in Indian context particularly, it includes any or all of these categories– physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect.

The solution which the report provides is that education can bridge the gap between their vulnerability and self-protection. Sensitization of child rights should fall in place rather than sensationalization of the issue. The children should be protected from the stigma attached to abuse and they should be prevented from being re-victimized.

These imbalances need to be addressed. Poverty alleviation schemes specifically targeting families of working children or families which both willingly or unwillingly send their children to work in order to fulfill their basic needs, should be formalized. State-level guidelines and protocols should be formulated wherein accountability on the part of government, non-government and civil society should be implemented for the rehabilitation of child domestic workers. The process of healing should make them feel empowered.

The larger, and the most important question remains: How should we deal with rehabilitation of these young children? Is just admitting them to rescue homes the best solution?

I believe better awareness, in civil society, along with proper education about the illegality and inhumaneness of the issue would be able to reduce the pain to a certain extent. This is not a sudden solution, it might take time. Accountability on the part of governments as well as NGOs would go a long way in bringing relief to these children.

These children have gone through hell and rescue homes are not great places either. The NGOs as well as such homes need to address the emotional trauma that these kids have gone through. Counseling just for the sake of it wouldn’t help these children.

Read more on this issue: Child labour: Can the ‘abused’ dream?

 

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Dating Apps Questioned Over Age Verification After Child Abuse Cases

Launched in 2012, Tinder has 57 million users around the world and Grindr, founded as a gay dating app in 2009, has 27 million users worldwide

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Dating apps Tinder and Grindr were being questioned over their age verification requirements after several child abuse cases came into light.

“Lax controls on apps used by millions, such as Tinder and Grindr are giving sexual predators and paedophiles easy access to children,” Britain’s The Sunday Times said in a report.

About 30 incidents of child rape have been investigated since 2015 in the UK alone.

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A man uses the dating app Tinder in New Delhi, India. (VOA)

“Documents reveal 60 further cases of child sex offences via online dating services, including grooming, kidnapping and violent sexual assault,” the report said on Monday.

A person 18 years or older cannot see Tinder profiles of users aged 17 and under. Similarily teenagers can view only profiles within the 13-17 age group, information available on public domain suggests.

The report, however, raised questions on the security of app users on such popular dating sites.

“We are consistently evaluating and refining our processes to prevent underage access, and will always work with law enforcement, where possible, to protect our users as well. We don’t to want minors on Tinder. Period,” The Verge quoted a Tinder spokesperson as saying.

Tinder Dating App. Source: Digital Trends

The dating companies claimed to have been using algorithmic and human screening tools to keep children from using their apps.

Also Read- Now Russian Telecom Watchdog To Direct Facebook, Twitter to Localise Users’ Database

“We are saddened to learn of these reports. Grindr is committed to creating a safe and secure environment to help our community connect and thrive, and any account of sexual abuse or other illegal behavior is troubling to us as well as a clear violation of our terms of service. We are constantly working to improve our tools,” a Grindr spokesperson said.

Launched in 2012, Tinder has 57 million users around the world and Grindr, founded as a gay dating app in 2009, has 27 million users worldwide. (IANS)